Embattled Tour de France Champ Denies Wrongdoing

The mother of Tour de France champion Floyd Landis said her son denied any wrongdoing after his cycling team issued a statement saying he tested positive for the male sex hormone testosterone during his recently-completed victory.

"He said, 'There's no way,"' Arlene Landis said after a phone conversation with her son from Europe. "I really believe him. I don't think he did anything wrong."

The statement, published on the team's Web site, comes a day after cycling's world governing body revealed that an unidentified rider had failed a drug test during the Tour.

The team said it had notified the International Cycling Union (UCI), the governing body for the sport, that Landis had "an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone ratio" after stage 17 of the race last Thursday. Landis won the Tour de France last Sunday in Paris.

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The Phonak statement says the team management and Landis are both "totally surprised," and Landis will ask for an analysis of his backup "B" sample "to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake."

Swiss-based Phonak says Landis has been suspended by his team pending the results.

If the second sample confirms the initial finding, he will be fired from the team, Phonak said.

Speculation that Landis had tested positive spread earlier Thursday after he failed to show up for a one-day race in Denmark on Thursday. A day earlier, he missed a scheduled event in the Netherlands.

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On the eve of the Tour's start, nine riders — including pre-race favorites Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso — were ousted, implicated in a Spanish doping investigation.

Landis rode the Tour with a degenerative hip condition that he said will require surgery in the coming weeks or months.